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First I've got to say I'm a Linux / Ubuntu novice, so go gentle on me as I'm on day 3.

I've managed to get Ubuntu server Ubuntu 8.04 LTS installed and running on the Poweredge 2850 I bought off ebay. The box will go in a rack at my office but I want to be able to work on it and power on and off from home and I gather that (maybe) IPMI over LAN might be the way to do this, or maybe its something to do with BMC or something?

I want to be able to administer/manage from a client PC at home running XP. I will be configuring the office router to port forward port 80 and 443 to the Ubuntu server running Apache2, and I'm puzzled about how the remote management works (unless it comes on a different port forwarded to a different internal IP)

Thanks for any help

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To clarify, to remotely administer the most basic level of hardware (hard reboots, BIOS settings / update) you want a "Lights Out Management" (LOM) card, which is an embedded server with its own processor on a card in the server, or a KVM-switch type solution.

For ordinary everyday Operating System level (i.e. Linux) administration, using remote text access such as provided via ssh. Yes, it will be annoying to learn all the commands and flags in the beginning, but it is quicker, and less painful than working daily via a remote graphical administration in my experience. I've been able to support remote systems in exotic locations using ssh for routine administration on high-latency (1000ms) 64kps or less network connections.

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If you need more to do this for more than one server, another technique would be an IP KVM combined with a networked, switching PDU. The switched PDU is fairly pricey compared to a eBay 2850. But if you expect to need more than one server, the PDU can be a nice option.

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IPMI wont work - it is LAN only. What you need is a management daughterboard that has a HTTP based interface. I use one on my supermicro stuff (from supermicro). Gives me a web interface with a java applet for remote keyboard, mouse, media (like discs).

The daughtercard has it's own IP address which is done through one of the server board ethernet ports (which it electrically piggibacks on) or a separate port. I connect ot ist using port 80 / 443, and then authenticate and have control over the machine. One reason to have more than one IP on a server, btw.

Without a management card, you are limited to what you can do after the OS started. With one, I can even change bios settings. I log in, start the applet, start the server and see it boot in the applet.

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I'll have to check when I can take another look at the server, but I'm pretty sure theres 2x built in GB network plugs and a separate network port on a card, which might well be the same sort of thing you are talking about. I'll pull the back off when I get home and take a look – Saul Mar 16 '10 at 15:34
Lotss depends how modern the card is. I have some older serves here that have IPMI cards.... and some newer ones that have IPMI cards that support http ;) Old card - hard to use (management server needed to start / stop), the new ones with remote KVM... great. Check, and look at the documentation what your card supports. – TomTom Mar 16 '10 at 15:59
IPMI on Dell supports a secondary IP address over the main ethernet port - and responds as long as power is present. Only caveat: do not bond the internal ports with an external ethernet card port or IPMI will not work. IPMI on Dell also supports Serial over LAN (SoL): so the serial port will work during boot if you configure Linux etc that way. The more expensive Dell RAC cards (add-ins) have dedicated LAN ports I believe; the internal ones ride off the main ethernet port as I described. – Mei Feb 19 '12 at 19:57

First of, if this is a production system, I would caution you to not install a GUI (it will make things easier initially) but as far as resources go, you will be better off without a GUI (I'm assuming tho you installed with a GUI already).

Secondly you need to read up on some command line commands (changing directories, creating users, apt system - for updates).

Then install SSH. Download Putty.exe (google it) and you are good to go. A Linux server does not need a GUI/X-win. That is not its purpose. You have a steep learning curve, but this is the best way to get started, learning with a machine secured behind the firewall.

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And another one. Ever tried POWERING UP a stopped server using SSH installed on the OS? Please demonstrate ;) Does not work. He needs a management card. – TomTom Mar 16 '10 at 15:03
I installed the server without GUI initially but then added Gnome. I was hoping after I had familiarised myself and got everything running I would be able to uninstall this. – Saul Mar 16 '10 at 15:36

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